Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln




Date of this Version


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Draft version launched December 2017.

OER State Policy Playbook


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License .


Why State-Level OER Policy?

The rising cost of higher education is about more than tuition—expensive textbooks and course materials remain a looming barrier to college affordability and access. Open educational resources (OER) are a solution to high-cost materials and state legislators are starting to take notice. Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that can be freely used, downloaded and shared to better serve all students. OER include all kinds of content such as textbooks, lesson plans, assignments, games, and more, and can include printed materials, not just digital materials. Nearly half of all states have considered OER legislation in past years, and it has increasingly become a go-to strategy for legislators seeking to make college education more affordable and effective. States can catalyze and support action at institutions by providing resources, incentives, and policy frameworks. This playbook provides a set of ideas that state legislators can consider to harness the power of OER to reduce college costs for students. Recommendations can be combined or pursued independently, and while not every recommendation is right for every state, each one offers a potential pathway to benefit students. Check out SPARC’s OER State Policy Tracker to see existing state policy and stay up to date on current legislation.